Is maple-leaf ex­tract the new Bo­tox?

And what else should we be eat­ing for ageless skin, asks Maria Lally

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MIND AND BODY -

TAKE A BREAK, HYALURONIC ACID, there’s a new smart ager in town and it could be star­ing at us from the break­fast ta­ble right now.

A new study by the Univer­sity of Rhode Is­land has dis­cov­ered that an ex­tract in maple leaves blocks the re­lease of an enzyme called elas­tase. This breaks down elastin, the pro­tein that keeps skin plump, but which de­clines as we age, lead­ing to fine lines and wrin­kles.

Pre­vi­ous re­search from the same univer­sity found that maple could also pro­tect skin from in­flam­ma­tion, and even lighten age spots and pig­men­ta­tion. It was those find­ings that led them to in­ves­ti­gate whether ex­tract from the leaves could help slow down skin age­ing, too. Sci­en­tists there now claim that while their find­ings could re­sult in a plant-based Bo­tox, it’s more likely that maple ex­tract will end up as a sup­ple­ment or top­i­cal treat­ment.

The study is yet more proof of the link be­tween food and skin age­ing – as aes­thetic doc­tor Dr Bar­bara Sturm says, we re­ally are what we eat. ‘For im­proved skin, load up on anti-in­flam­ma­tory foods such as blue­ber­ries, nuts, salmon and lots of leafy green veg­eta­bles,’ she sug­gests. ‘At the same time, cut down on pro­cessed meats, sugar, fried foods and re­fined flour.’ A word of cau­tion on some oily fish: ‘One study has found high lev­els of mercury, specif­i­cally toxic methylmer­cury, in large Pa­cific fish such as sword­fish and tuna, mainly due to emis­sions from Asia,’ says Dr Sturm. ‘It is tremen­dously toxic to skin, so try to avoid those as much as pos­si­ble.’

Along­side these di­etary tweaks, a wave of sci­ence­backed beauty sup­ple­ments have been steadily find­ing their way on to shelves. They may sit along­side our trusty creams and serums, but they work from the in­side out. Here are five we’re rat­ing…

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